Medical errors in cases of hospitalized patients cost Ontarians more than $1B a year: study
2019-08-12 from cbc.ca
When doctors and hospitals make medical errors, it harms patients. But they aren't the only ones to pay a steep price.
A study published earlier today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal tallies the dollar cost to taxpayers — and that cost can be steep.
That's what lead researcher Lauren Tessier and colleagues found out. Tessier is a PhD student at the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto.
Tessier and her team studied the records of 610,979 patients admitted to Ontario hospitals over a one-year period ending in March 2016. Overall, 36,004 or six per cent of the patients were harmed during their hospital stay.
The patients who suffered harm took longer to recover, spent more time in hospital, and required more healthcare to undo or mitigate the harm.
As part of the study, the researchers categorized the kinds of harms experienced by patients. Of the more than 36,000 patients who were harmed in hospital, just over half (18,027 or 50.1 per cent) suffered harm due improper treatment. That includes failing to make the correct diagnosis or making an incorrect diagnosis that led to incorrect treatment.
This category also included harm caused by medications. Such patients might have been harmed by being given the wrong drug, the correct drug but at the wrong dosage, or if they were given a drug that interacted in a dangerous way with their other medications. Patients given a medication to which they were known to be allergic would also fall under this category.
The second biggest category (13,328 or 37 per cent) was harm caused by an infection acquired during the hospital stay. The third leading cause (9819 or 27.3 per cent) was harm caused by a procedure, and the fourth (967 or 2.7 per cent) was harm brought on by accidents such as falling off a hospital stretcher.
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